The Mental Health Writers’ Guild

mhwgmemberblog2017

I’m really proud to announce that my blog has been admitted to the Mental Health Writers’ Guild. The Guild is a wonderful community of writers and bloggers who write pieces related to mental health and mental well-being. It exists to encourage positive, informative, inspirational writing about mental health, and I’m honoured to be in the company of these amazing, like-minded writers (you should definitely check them all out!). Plus I get to display the Guild’s cool logo on my blog, which you’ll see at the bottom of each of my pages! I feel grateful to be a small part of a really terrific movement, all working towards furthering a greater understanding of mental health issues and reduction of the stigma attached to mental illness.

Movie Characters with Anxiety Disorders (Are There Any?)

When I woke up this morning, the first thing that popped into my head was “It’s Oscar day!” I love movies and I love the Academy Awards, so today is like an unofficial holiday for me, as I count down the hours to the start of the big event. Hype! Dresses! Upset victories! Buzz-worthy moments! I love it all.

As I was musing about all things movie-related this morning, one thought that popped into my head was how rarely I could recall seeing characters with Anxiety Disorders portrayed in movies, especially compared with other mental illnesses. I wasn’t sure if that was fact or just my perception, so I did what I often do to investigate an issue of interest to me: I put together some stats. So off to Wikipedia I went!  Continue reading “Movie Characters with Anxiety Disorders (Are There Any?)”

The Passenger on My Bus: Reflections on Driving Ahead with Anxiety on Board

Anxiety disorders have the ability to make your world smaller and smaller as you avoid an over-growing list of places, activities, and situations that trigger more anxiety than you think you can handle. My anxiety disorders have led me to avoid (and miss out on) a lot over the past few years: attending social gatherings, going on trips with my husband, travelling to my home town to visit my family. During those years, I’ve been trying diligently to resolve my anxiety issues, waiting for the day when I expected I would finally banish my symptoms and feel “ready” to be a full-fledged participant in the world again. In the meantime, I’ve continued living in my little bubble of avoidance and safety. Continue reading “The Passenger on My Bus: Reflections on Driving Ahead with Anxiety on Board”

“I don’t think you’re getting it – I have an anxiety DISORDER.” (An imaginary conversation.)

Talking about my anxiety disorders has been really helpful for me, as I discussed in my first blog post. And while sharing my story has typically been met with sympathy and understanding, sometimes my attempts at being open have also been met with some ignorance. For example, when I shared my diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with an acquaintance recently, he told me that I had such a good life, what did I have to be anxious about? He said I just needed to gain some perspective, and reflect on how good I had it compared with some people in this world, and that would take care of any anxiety I felt.  Continue reading ““I don’t think you’re getting it – I have an anxiety DISORDER.” (An imaginary conversation.)”

“Projects:” My Useful Preoccupations

In my last blog post, I talked about my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), specifically how I feel like my mind drifts over a period of weeks or months from one major worry to another, while my feelings of anxiety remain constant, no matter what the specific source. I do find that sometimes there is a way to somewhat hijack that process, to temporarily divert my mind to something less distressing. Although I sometimes wonder how beneficial it is in the long run.  Continue reading ““Projects:” My Useful Preoccupations”

Black Oil (or Putting the “Generalized” into Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

Before I was diagnosed last year with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I thought that particular condition sounded pretty vague and possibly slightly made-up. I think it was the “Generalized” part – it implied to me that the anxiety was diffuse and therefore probably fairly mild. I came to learn that “Generalized” actually refers to the fact that the excessive (and sometimes debilitating) anxiety experienced by people with GAD is connected to many different issues or activities, as opposed to being consistently focused on one specific situation (whereas people with Social Anxiety Disorder, for example, have their anxiety triggered specifically by social situations). Continue reading “Black Oil (or Putting the “Generalized” into Generalized Anxiety Disorder)”

Thoughts on “Bell Let’s Talk” Day: Coming out of the Mental Illness Closet

I love Bell Let’s Talk Day. I started to take an interest in it a couple of years ago, when I knew my mental health had declined, but I didn’t yet have an accurate name for what was happening to me, and I felt like what was going on in my head was a shameful secret. Whenever Bell Let’s Talk Day rolled around, it was truly exciting for me to see, for one day at least, people talking so openly about mental health and mental illness. I felt so inspired by what I saw being shared on social media: support for people struggling with mental illness, and people sharing their own mental health challenges. It made me feel so much less isolated in what I was experiencing.

Last year, on Bell Let’s Talk Day, I remember tweeting “…because someone you know is suffering in silence.” I wasn’t yet ready to admit that I was one of those someones. But I guess this year I am. Continue reading “Thoughts on “Bell Let’s Talk” Day: Coming out of the Mental Illness Closet”

Why I Started a Blog: Talking Helps

The other day I saw one of those “Bell Let’s Talk Day” ads on TV. It was the one with Howie Mandel, where he talks about the power of well, talking, when dealing with mental health issues. His words really resonated with me, especially when he spoke about feeling in the past like he was alone, and how talking about his issues helped with that feeling of isolation. I too have often felt alone and isolated in my mental health struggles over the past few years, believing no one else truly felt like I did.  Continue reading “Why I Started a Blog: Talking Helps”